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Why New Subjects by WAEC?

I was surprised, when my daughter, who was preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASCE), hopefully, this year, rushed in to tell me about the new subjects introduced by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). On hearing of this new development, which I am yet to confirm, I decided to contact the TIMESEARCH, to shed more light on this issue and educate me and other parents, whose children were about sitting for the examinations.

Mr. Femi Olowolagba,
P.O. Box 4431,
Orile Agege,
Lagos State.

This issue was taken up with the Public Affairs Department of the West African Examinations Council, Harvey Road, Yaba, Lagos, where it was learnt that “In compliance with the directive on the introduction of a new Secondary School Curriculum, the West African Examinations Council, (WAEC) conducted the maiden examinations in the newly introduced trade subjects in the May/June 2014 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) in Nigeria”.

Based on this development, “39 new subjects for the Secondary School Curriculum were developed by the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council, (NERDC).

The new curriculum was approved by the National Council on Education (NCE) in 2011, when it was also expected to become operational. The new curriculum was, primarily, designed to equip the students with entrepreneurial, vocational and technical skills that would make them job creators.

However, according to the Head of the Test Development Division and Chief Discussant at the January edition of the monthly seminar of the Research Department of the WAEC International Office in Lagos, Mrs. Olayinka Ajibade, the curriculum was expected to equip students with these vital skills for development.

It was learnt that to achieve such entrepreneurial skills, the students must sit for four core subjects: English Language; General Mathematics; Civic Education and Trade/ Entrepreneurial Studies, beginning from 2014.

Unlike the former curriculum, whereby, students could pick eight or nine subjects of choice, the new curriculum categorised other subjects as elective, which were also grouped into Humanities, Science and Mathematics, Technology and Business Studies. Students in Senior Secondary School 1-3, have to choose from any of the groups. They must pick four subjects of their choice from each group and pick two or three from the elective.

Any implication for assessment? Mrs. Ajibade said, “The assessment requires the teaching of some frameworks, including syllabus development to guarantee the desired outcome.

What are the constraints against the new policy? She mentioned “Lack of proper understanding of the curriculum by stakeholders; inadequate personnel; slow pace of review or development of appropriate textbooks and teachers’ handbooks”.

Others include dearth of necessary infrastructure in schools; funding of programmes to support entrepreneurial education; large class size and shortage of career guidance counsellors in schools.

TIMESEARCH also learnt that the constraints could, however, be checked through constant review of textbooks and teachers’ handbooks by NERDC and practical handson training by teachers, which would aid students in learning.

Other solutions include empowering teachers through technology, increasing the usage of Information and Communication Technology, recruitment of qualified guidance and counselling personnel and increasing funding by the relevant arms of government.

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